May 12, 2014

The man with the hole in his head

Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science
by John Fleischman

In 1848, a freak accident occurs to a railroad worker in Cavendish, Vermont. An explosion sends a three-foot-long iron rod through the head of twenty-six year old Phineas Gage. Amazingly, Phineas can still walk and talk. His recovery continues to astonish doctors to this day. 

John Fleischman tells Phineas' story with such gruesome detail that readers will be enthralled. It sounds like a modern horror story, but it really happened! Plus, it reveals a lot about brain science - how the brain works and how it affects human behaviour. Before his accident, Phineas was dependable and well-liked. After the accident, he is so unreliable, nasty, and impatient that his employers are forced to fire him. The iron rod had destroyed a key part of his brain, and he was no longer the same.

An excellent book for all readers, especially those who don't normally opt for nonfiction. Highly recommended.

Phineas' skull and the iron bar 

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